Have the Miami Hurricanes ever had a truly bad men’s basketball head coach?

Mar 31, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga.
Mar 31, 2023; Houston, TX, USA; Miami (Fl) Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Hurricanes are rapidly approaching the century mark for their men’s basketball program and over the last 98 years, Miami has gone 1,142-836 overall, a success rate of nearly 58 percent.

The Canes have had just 12 head coaches over the nearly 100 years of Miami basketball, including legendary current head coach Jim Larrañaga.

Larrañaga has led Miami to 270 wins over 13 years including runs to the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and Final Four.

While many collegiate (and professional) basketball programs can easily point to the coaches who fell short of success, the Hurricanes have had a dozen leaders who never let their team fall into misery.

Looking back at the last century of Miami men’s basketball, have the Canes ever had a head coach who truly failed at their job?

The first decade of Miami Hurricanes basketball

Art Webb was the first-ever men’s basketball head coach in Coral Gables. He coached the Canes from 1926 until 1931, switching roles with Tom McCann on occasion.

McCann was the head coach from 1928 through 1932 and was *technically* the more successful of the pair over the first six years of Hurricane basketball

When Webb and McCann were replaced by Hart Morris in 1938, they finished with an average win rate of 70.6 percent.

McCann led the Canes to an impressive 30 wins with just seven losses, while Webb saw 12 losses over his 30-game tenure.

The Hart Morris Era

Morris coached Miami from the day he took over until 1942, took a three-year hiatus, and then returned to the Hurricanes in 1946 where he stayed until 1952.

He spent his entire head coaching career with Miami, as did Webb and McCann, and won 119 games with the Canes.

While Morris only earned a 59.2 winning percentage, he was the longest-tenured coach that Miami had seen.

Steers and Wike

W.H. Steers coached the Canes during Morris’ three-year break from coaching, but Miami only played one season of basketball during that time.

Over Steers’ one year as Miami’s coach, the Hurricanes finished at 8-5 overall, a win rate of 61.5 percent.

Following the joint force of Steers and Morris, Dave Wike took over the Hurricanes program for two seasons. 

To this day, Wike is one of three Miami head coaches to finish their tenure with a losing record (14-22 overall) and could be considered the Hurricanes’ one truly bad coach in program history.

The Bruce Hale Era

Over 13 years, Bruce Hale resuscitated the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team that had been (slightly) driven into the ground by Wike.

Hale coached the Canes over 332 games and won 220 of them.

The Hurricanes lost just 112 games under Hale’s tenure, leading to a win rate of 66.3 percent, the second highest in program history at that point in time.

Godfrey, the break, and Foster

Rod Godfrey led the Hurricanes for just four seasons and was the second-ever coach in Miami history to finish his time for the Canes with a losing record.

Godfrey finished his stint in Coral Gables with a 47-57 overall record, which is a winning percentage of just over 45 percent, and is far from as abysmal as Wike’s tenure.

From 1971 through 1985, the University of Miami dropped men’s basketball as a Division I sport so the Hurricanes have a 15-year gap in their history.

When the Canes returned to the collegiate basketball scene in 1985, Bill Foster was tasked with the head coaching job.

Foster stayed with Miami for five seasons, returning the Hurricanes to their winning ways. When he left for Virginia Tech, Foster held a 78-71 overall record with the Canes or a win rate of 52.3 percent.

The Leonard Hamilton Era

It wasn’t always smooth sailing with Leonard Hamilton as Miami’s head coach, but the decade-long era under his leadership was one for the books.

In 1995 and 1999, Hamilton was named the Big East Coach of the Year and the United Press International also named him the National Coach of the Year in ‘99.

Hamilton took the Canes to a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2000, his final year with the team before jumping ship to Florida State.

Overall, Hamilton’s tenure with the Hurricanes ended with a 144-147 record, a winning percentage of just under 50 percent.

Clark and Haith combine for a decade

Perry Clark steered the ship for the first four years at the turn of the century and won nearly 55 percent of his games with Miami.

In 2004, Frank Haith took over the Hurricanes and remained with Miami until 2011.

Over his seven years in Coral Gables, Haith led the Canes to a 129-101 overall record and an appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament Round of the 32.

The Jim Larrañaga Era

Larrañaga has led the Hurricanes to 270 wins since 2011. He guided the Canes to their first-ever Final Four appearance in program history.

Larrañaga will most likely go down in the Miami history books as the greatest Hurricanes men's basketball head coach of all time, and he's a far cry from having failed at his job.

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